What is Ecommerce Customer Engagement, and Why is it Important?
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A masterclass on ecommerce customer engagement
The e-commerce industry is growing rapidly. According to Statista, the global e-commerce market was valued at $4 trillion in 2021 and is projected to grow to $7.3 trillion by 2025. As an e-commerce brand, you will compete with thousands of other brands for your customers’ attention.
Therefore, it’s important that you find a way to stand out from the crowd and engage your customers in a way that makes them feel special and makes them want to return again and again.
As an eCommerce business, your customers are your lifeblood. You want to keep them happy and engaged so that they keep coming back, again and again.
The fact that almost 83% of customers expect some kind of engagement when they contact a company is one of the most compelling reasons to focus on customer engagement. Another staggering fact – 86% of customers are willing to pay more for engaging shopping experiences.
Achieving and maintaining high levels of customer engagement can help you gain a competitive advantage over your competitors, improve your bottom line, and increase customer retention rates. The ability to engage customers throughout their entire purchase journey is key in gaining their trust and loyalty.
But how do you do that? When you’re a small eCommerce business, it can seem like there’s not much you can do to make your customers feel special. But the truth is: there’s an incredible amount of value in putting yourself out there as an eCommerce company and making sure your customers know they matter to you—even if they don’t spend millions of dollars with you yearly.
In addition to providing a better customer experience, engaging customers will also help retain them as repeat buyers. They’re more likely to come back if they feel their needs are being met during each interaction.
In this guide, we’ll walk through all the ways you can build customer engagement into your business model so that even if your customers aren’t spending big bucks on their purchases (yet), they still feel like they’re getting something meaningful out of buying from you.
What Exactly is Ecommerce Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement is the process of interacting with customers to encourage them to buy your products and services. It’s a way for brands to build relationships with their customers so that they feel personally invested in what you’re doing and are more likely to buy from you again.
One way to think about it is this: Customer engagement is like an ongoing conversation between a company and its customers. . It could be as simple as sending out an email newsletter to your customers, inviting them to participate in surveys or focus groups, or hosting a social media contest for them to win tickets to your next event.
The goal is to keep that conversation going and ensure that each side of the conversation stays informed about what the other side wants to communicate.
Brands leverage customer engagement strategies to build customer loyalty, brand advocacy, and revenue, increase customer lifetime value, improve customer retention rates and drive customer referrals.
When brands engage their customers, they ensure that every interaction they have with a customer is as painless and pleasant as possible. It also means knowing that if someone has a problem with their order (or any other aspect of their interaction), they won’t feel like they’re being ignored or brushed aside when they try to resolve it—they’ll be heard and respected by the person on the other end of the line.
Customer engagement aims to provide value to your customers so that they become advocates for your company, which leads them to share their positive experiences with others. This will help spread awareness about your products/services among potential prospects. At the same time, it will also help you connect with existing customers on a more personal level, thereby improving their overall experience with your brand.
Why is Customer Engagement Important for Ecommerce Brands?
Customer engagement is important for e-commerce brands because it is the only way to build trust, recall, and loyalty.
For an eCommerce brand, building trust and loyalty are the most critical things in a customer’s lifecycle. The right kind of customer engagement can win you loyal customers who will not only have shorter purchase cycles but will also become your brand’s evangelists.
Think of this – an engaged customer who feels positively about your brand will also show it off on social media and other channels, thereby giving you credible amounts of word-of-mouth publicity.
Here’s a quick overview of why as an e-commerce business, you should be investing in building a robust customer engagement strategy:
Improved Customer Relationships
As an e-commerce brand, your touchpoints with customers are mostly online. This is why it’s important to have a customer engagement strategy that helps you improve your customer relationships. A welcome email flow is one way to do this, but engaging customers in creative ways like giving them re-shareable content on social media or sending them personalized notes and discounts on birthdays on channels like WhatsApp goes even further.
Better Conversions and Opportunities for Upselling and Cross-selling
Engaging your customers routinely can significantly boost conversion rates. Engaged customers are much more likely to buy from your brand and try out different products. Research shows that 74% of consumers are likely to make purchases, relying on their experiences alone.
This means that if you engage them in a way that makes them feel like they’re part of the decision-making process, they’re more likely to convert at higher rates than if they were just given a generic interaction.
On top of that, engaging customers will open up opportunities for upselling and cross-selling. If you can get an engaged customer who’s already interested in what you have to offer and then show them a related product or service, they’re far more likely to buy it than someone who was never exposed to it before.
Higher Customer Loyalty and Trust
An engaged customer is much more likely to trust your brand since they are continuously in touch with your content, launches, etc. You can do simple things as an e-commerce business to build your customers’ trust by strategically engaging them at different touchpoints, for example:
- Posting customer reviews with names
- Proactively asking for ratings and reviews for products
- Offering excellent customer service to resolve complaints
For example, if you are an online store that sells fashion apparel, you can build engagement through social media by posting frequently on Instagram and Facebook about new collections and trends in the fashion industry. This will help customers stay updated about what’s happening in their industry and understand how their purchases align with ongoing fashion trends.
By engaging them at every stage of the buying journey and providing value through content, you will be able to build a loyal customer base that trusts your brand and ensures repeat business.
Shorter Purchase Cycles and Better Repeat-purchase Behavior
The average customer today spends less time researching products or shopping for them than they did even a decade ago. That’s why creating an engaging experience for your customers from the moment they land on your site is important. This will keep them engaged with your brand and interested in returning for more.
Customers who engage with a brand are more likely to buy from that brand again in the future. Customer engagement can help e-commerce brands in two major ways. First, it allows you to shorten the purchase cycle and get customers to buy more often. Second, it helps you retain customers and increase their loyalty.
To achieve a shorter purchase cycle and better repeat-purchase behavior, you must ensure your customers understand your brand, brand philosophy, and offerings. Customer engagement is your way out to do this!
A short purchase cycle means that customers make a purchase quickly and with fewer steps and deliberation involved in the process. The shorter the cycle, the greater the number of repeat purchases and better repeat-purchase behavior.
You also want to ensure that your customer engagement strategy includes some kind of loyalty program or other incentive systems that reward repeat purchases—and repeat purchasers—which is another way to ensure repeat business from existing customers rather than launching new campaigns every time someone visits your site.
Boost Brand Awareness and Reputation
Customer engagement can help e-commerce brands boost brand awareness and reputation, which is crucial for gaining new customers and retaining old ones. By sharing stories about why and how you created the brand or featuring milestones achieved by your company, you can engage your customers without burdening them with a direct and tiring sales pitch.
If you’re not sure how to engage your customers, try starting with things like:
- Sharing behind-the-scenes photos of what goes on at your office (or at least a picture of your office)
- Posting about the meaning behind your brand name
- Offering discounts on products that are coming up for sale soon
Free Word of Mouth (that goes a long way!)
Customers are the new media. According to a study, 72% of customers will share a positive experience with six or more people. On the other hand, unhappy customers will share their experience with 15 or even more.
This means that an engaged customer is more likely to become your brand’s evangelist and get you some real, credible, and absolutely free publicity in their circles. Now note that circles today encompass vast amounts of social media followers and friends. So you can practically reach way more people this way than by spending ad dollars!
Increase in Sales Funnel Velocity
Increasing your sales funnel velocity is a great way to boost your revenue, but it’s not always easy. It can be hard to increase the number of qualified lead opportunities you’re generating or to increase the average deal size of each sale.
The four main areas any brand needs to focus on to increase its sales funnel velocity are:
- Increase the number of qualified lead opportunities.
- Increase the average deal size.
- Amplify the conversion rate, and
- Reduce the length of the sales cycle.
There’s one strategy that can help you do all four: customer engagement.
Customer engagement is an incredibly powerful tool for increasing your sales funnel velocity. With content and differentiated experiences on your website, you can convert potential customers into loyal customers much more quickly than ever before. And when you engage with them before they make their first purchase with you, they are already primed and ready to buy from you—and will likely continue doing so in the future!
Enhanced Customer Service
Customer service is one of the most important elements that contribute to the overall success of a brand. Hubspot states that 93% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases with brands that offer excellent customer service. It is not just about posting re-shareable, engaging content but about bettering a customer’s experience while they are on your website, browsing through products, and dilly-dallying the purchase decision.
Customer engagement can help e-commerce brands by providing better customer service. This can be done by providing a seamless experience from product selection to delivery, ensuring that customers get what they want at an affordable price.
Providing quality customer service will help you gain trust and loyalty from your customers. If you want to make your customers feel valued, then you need to ensure that every complaint or feedback is taken into consideration and addressed as soon as possible. In addition, ensuring fast resolution will help build customer trust and loyalty toward your brand.
Four Ways Ecommerce Brands can Use to Improve Customer Engagement
Ecommerce brands can improve their customer engagement by using the following four tools:
Live Chats (especially with an in-house expert)
Live chat is a great way to improve customer engagement. It’s much more convenient for customers, who don’t have to go through the hassle of navigating a website and finding their way to an email address. With live chat, they can get help right away and then continue shopping—which means happier customers.
Live chats work way better than the classical customer support email or dropbox. This is because by using the live chat feature, you can:
- Quickly resolve customer concerns/ questions
- Help them wade through the website and speed up the conversion
- Communicate with them in real-time and offer expert advice, thereby building trust and credibility
Live chat is great for handling simple questions and problems, but it’s also a great way to build customer relationships. By reaching customers through a live chat, you can increase the likelihood of them making the purchase decision. A live chat setup is a must for mobile-optimized sites since most users today prefer using mobile for browsing and purchasing online.
An Omnichannel Experience
Omnichannel customer engagement is a process that employs multiple channels to interact with clients and prospgbhi8ects in order to keep them interested in a product or service. Today, as an e-commerce brand, you need to be everywhere where your customers are. They are on social media, customer groups, interest groups, and conversation-facilitating websites like Quora, etc.
The only endeavor while planning a customer engagement strategy should be to deliver a personalized, contextual experience each time at every touchpoint. An omnichannel strategy will help you:
- Offer a smooth transition across different channels
- Ensure better recall (customers won’t forget about you once they log out of one of the channels)
- Get unified customer data to identify patterns and tweak offerings and promotions accordingly
- Map your customer journey from one channel to the next and plan content for each channel accordingly
Chatbots for Quick Responses
Live chat and chatbots are similar in what they offer, except for the fact that the latter doesn’t need a dedicated human resource. Customers love personalized solutions and recommendations.
Chatbots can tailor responses to engage your potential customers and convert them into making a purchase rather quickly. A chatbot can function 24×7 and ensures that your potential customers are never left hanging in between buy-or-not-to-buy decisions.
The chatbots can even recommend products to customers based on their requirements, thereby reducing the time to navigate through several product display pages.
An Enhanced Checkout Experience
Lastly, enhancing the checkout experience and making it as smooth as possible can take your business growth to a whole new trajectory. There is usually a large drop-off between cart addition to check-out on a typical e-commerce website. Tailor your UI-UX to ensure the customer finds it easy to check out, and there are no sharp drop-offs after cart addition.
For example, remove all distractions and make the payment button prominent and easy to find. Next, be transparent about shipping charges, any hidden charges that feature late in the cycle are more likely to lead to complete abandonment.
Also, it is great to have a chatbot right on the checkout page that can help customers in case of payment failures. Following up immediately by sending a link via email to complete the payment and hence the purchase is of utmost criticality. Any lag in the last leg of this cycle can lead to a non-recoverable drop-off.
Create a Winning Ecommerce Customer Engagement Strategy
The eCommerce industry is a competitive one, and customer engagement is an essential part of winning.
The key to creating a winning eCommerce customer engagement strategy is understanding your customers, their needs and wants, and how they like to interact with your brand. By understanding these things, you can create a strategy that will help you turn more of those customers into repeat customers and even loyal fans of your brand!
Engage your customers in every way possible without overburdening them with sales pitches and over-communication. Space out your social media and email reach-outs and invest in every content piece that you put out for your potential customers and existing customers to consume. Make them a part of your communications – make your engagement strategists go heavy on a personalized approach.
By engaging with your customers routinely, you’ll reduce your struggle in discovering, acquiring, and retaining loyal customers. Remember to use a robust analytics platform to measure the ROI of each of your engagement strategies to learn and better the next one!
If you’re looking for a way to boost your eCommerce customer engagement, look no further than LimeChat. We can help you create a winning strategy that will get your customers coming back time and time again while also increasing your revenue.
Contact us today to start building your winning strategy!